If you are like me and drafted Thomas Rawls in August but managed to stay patient and hang onto him until now, take a bow. I’ll bow with you. September and October were some dark times, my friends, but here we are. Rawls is the top dog in Seattle, and it looks like it will stay that way for the rest of the season now that Christine Michael got shipped out of town and C.J. Prosise is hurt. We did it, guys.

Prosise ran for a 72-yard touchdown in the first quarter on Sunday, but he left the game in the second quarter. It was pretty much all Rawls for the rest of the game, with a little bit of Troymaine Pope (who also got hurt). The Seahawks getting rid of Christine Michael meant they were ready to roll with Prosise and Rawls as their top guys and that they were confident Rawls would be healthy and effective. Now that Prosise is out of the picture, it’s all Rawls, baby.

Rawls rushed 14 times for 57 yards (4.1 YPC) and added three catches for 31 yards, giving him 88 total yards on the day. Heading into the fantasy playoffs, getting an every down back like Rawls into your lineup could be just what your team needs to get that extra edge (I know my team, where I went zero RB and took Rawls as my RB1 LATE, is sitting pretty now that I have him back). The best part about the Prosise injury* is that it means Rawls will see more action on passing downs. They will find a way to spell him here and there, but Rawls should be an every down back going forward and should catch his fair share of passes.

Things change quickly in the NFL, and it seems like just last week we were excited about the idea of a Prosise-Rawls backfield combination. But this week was about much more than Thomas Rawls and how happy we all are to have him back.

To the report. . .

NOTE: In the tables below, I’ve removed running backs who have been placed on Injured Reserve. If the running back is injured but is not on IR, then he has a + next to his name.

American Football Conference
AFC East Primary Back Handcuff Pass-Catcher Third-Stringer
Patriots LeGarrette Blount Dion Lewis James White Brandon Bolden
Jets Matt Forte Bilal Powell Bilal Powell C.J. Spiller
Dolphins Jay Ajayi Damien Williams Damien Williams Kenyan Drake
Bills LeSean McCoy + Mike Gillislee LeSean McCoy Reggie Bush
AFC North Primary Back Handcuff Pass-Catcher Third-Stringer
Bengals Jeremy Hill Rex Burkhead Rex Burkhead Cedric Peerman +
Ravens Terrance West Kenneth Dixon Terrance West Javorius Allen
Steelers Le’Veon Bell DeAngelo Williams + Le’Veon Bell Fitzgerald Toussaint
Browns Isaiah Crowell Duke Johnson Duke Johnson George Atkinson
AFC South Primary Back Handcuff Pass-Catcher Third-Stringer
Texans Lamar Miller Alfred Blue + Lamar Miller Jonathan Grimes +
Jaguars Chris Ivory T.J. Yeldon T.J. Yeldon Denard Robinson
Colts Frank Gore Robert Turbin Frank Gore Josh Ferguson
Titans DeMarco Murray Derrick Henry DeMarco Murray Antonio Andrews
AFC West Primary Back Handcuff Pass-Catcher Third-Stringer
Chiefs Spencer Ware Charcandrick West Charcandrick West Knile Davis
Broncos Devontae Booker Kapri Bibbs Devontae Booker Juwan Thompson
Raiders Latavius Murray DeAndre Washington ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Jalen Richard
Chargers Melvin Gordon Kenneth Farrow Melvin Gordon Andre Williams?

The Bengals lost Giovani Bernard to a torn ACL on Sunday, meaning Jeremy Hill will no longer be sharing a timeshare with him. However, as we have seen over the past couple years, Hill’s value is pretty much tied to whether he gets into the end zone or not. With Bernard out, he will likely see more touches, but I wouldn’t look for a huge jump in production from him. While he will not get the same number of touches as Bernard did, Rex Burkhead is going to step into a larger role, especially on passing downs.

Terrance West and Kenneth Dixon both had early success for the Ravens on Sunday, and then they stopped getting the ball. West averaged 5.3 YPC and Dixon averaged 6.7 YPC, but they combined for only two touches in the entire second half. The Ravens were losing, but the game was pretty close up until the end of the fourth quarter, so they did not have to abandon the running game in order to chase points and pass their way back into the game, but they did anyway.

If you own LeSean McCoy, I sure hope you were able to handcuff him with Mike Gillislee. While McCoy hasn’t missed much time, he does seem to have a new injury every week. This week, he left the game early with a thumb injury, and Gillislee had plenty of success in his absence. It does sound like McCoy is going to play next week, but running backs and hand injuries do not typically go well together:


National Football Conference
NFC East Primary Back Handcuff Pass-Catcher Third-Stringer
Giants Rashad Jennings Paul Perkins Bobby Rainey Orleans Darkwa
Eagles ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Ryan Mathews Darren Sproles Wendell Smallwood
Cowboys Ezekiel Elliott Alfred Morris Ezekiel Elliott Lance Dunbar
Washington Robert Kelley Matt Jones Chris Thompson Chris Thompson
NFC North Primary Back Handcuff Pass-Catcher Third-Stringer
Vikings Jerick McKinnon Matt Asiata Jerick McKinnon Ronnie Hillman
Packers James Starks Ty Montgomery Ty Montgomery Don Jackson +
Lions Theo Riddick Dwayne Washington Theo Riddick Zach Zenner
Bears Jordan Howard Jeremy Langford Ka’Deem Carey Ka’Deem Carey
NFC South Primary Back Handcuff Pass-Catcher Third-Stringer
Buccaneers Doug Martin Peyton Barber Jacquizz Rodgers + Peyton Barber
Saints Mark Ingram + Tim Hightower Travaris Cadet Tim Hightower
Panthers Jonathan Stewart Cameron Artis-Payne Fozzy Whittaker Cameron Artis-Payne
Falcons Devonta Freeman Tevin Coleman + Tevin Coleman + Terron Ward
NFC West Primary Back Handcuff Pass-Catcher Third-Stringer
49ers Carlos Hyde DuJuan Harris Shaun Draughn Mike Davis
Seahawks C.J. Prosise + Thomas Rawls C.J. Prosise + Troymaine Pope
Cardinals David Johnson Andre Ellington David Johnson Stepfan Taylor
Rams Todd Gurley Benny Cunningham Todd Gurley Malcolm Brown

Just when we thought Rashad Jennings might be losing snaps and touches to Paul Perkins, he came roaring back for the New York Giants (and fantasy owners) with back-to-back solid weeks. He carried 21 times for 85 yards (4.0 YPC) and a touchdown and caught five passes for 44 yards. While he is not going to be your typical RB1, he does have the potential to put up respectable fantasy numbers down the stretch as long as he keeps getting this volume.

The Eagles lead back was Ryan Mathews, and then it was Darren Sproles. On Sunday it was neither of them, as both left the game and did not return. Mathews left with a knee injury, and the team is saying he is day-to-day. I would not be at all surprised if he missed a week or two. Sproles has a fractured rib but sounds like he may not miss any time:

With Mathews and Sproles out, Wendell Smallwood carried the load, and he will be the first guy up if either (or both) misses time. If Smallwood is available in your league, he might be worth a waiver-wire add this week.

After a few exciting weeks of Ty Montgomery, the Green Bay Packers went and made their backfield too unpredictable to trust. Now that James Starks is back and is the de facto starter, he is splitting time with Montgomery. Since the Packers through the ball 75 times a game (roughly), neither is going to rack up rushing yards or rushing touchdowns, so we have to count on receptions out of the backfield. Starks made things work this week, catching five passes for 46 yards in a touchdown, while only rushing nine times for 25 yards (2.8 YPC). Montgomery rushed just four times for 17 yards (4.3 YPC) and caught three passes for 27 yards. You can see the problem here.

Additional Thoughts, Observations, and Injuries. . .

  • Le’Veon Bell had 201 total yards on 36 touches (including eight catches for 55 yards) and was, once again, the only running back to touch the ball for the Steelers on Sunday.
  • Theo Riddick and Dwayne Washington combined for 19 rushing yards for the Lions. Washington rushed 13 times for six yards for less than .5 YPC. Yeesh. Riddick did his normal damage in the passing game, but come on. 19 yards on 17 carries as a team? Ooof.
  • Robert Kelley rushed 24 times for 137 yards (5.7 YPC) and THREE touchdowns on Sunday night. I don’t think Matt Jones is going to get that job back.
  • Jeremy Langford, Robert Turbin, and Matt Asiata were your vultures of the week. Langford rushed six times for eight yards (1.3 YPC) and a touchdown, Turbin punched in one of his two carries for a touchdown, and Asiata rushed five times for 20 yards and a touchdown.


*By “best part,” I mean the best part for Rawls and Rawls fantasy owners. It’s obviously tough news for a young running back in his rookie season who was finally healthy and producing at a high level. As a Notre Dame Fan, I am pulling for a guy like Prosise to do well.



If you want to talk fantasy football or have players you want Mike to feature, hit him up on Twitter at @mikeMaher or post a comment below!

  1. Cheese Eating Surrender Monkey says:

    pissed i only drafted and held rawls all year in one (12 teamer with deep benches where there’s caps on how many RB (6, start 3 with 2 flexes), WR (6, start 3), TE’s (4, start 1, can flex), QB’s (3, start 1). but now that dixon and rawls both have value i got these: hightower (dropped langford a bit back), howard, mccoy, dixon,rawls, ingram at RB. already having good WR this means i’ll never need to start a 2nd TE in any week anymore. standard (nearly, a .2 PPR)

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